I will give credit for some of the thoughts expressed here to Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept, System Update, “Is the US social fabric unraveling?” I advise watching this episode, as it gives many things to think about and statistics which I will not delve into here but are extremely enlightening.
There is no question that we are living in revolutionary times. That is not referring to the protests occurring, though that is definitely a part of it. Societal revolutions do not have to include mass protests or violence, though they generally do. Instead, think of the Industrial Revolution as an example. While there were absolutely a number of protests, strikes, riots and uprisings, those are not the reason we call that time a revolution. A revolution is a period of drastic societal, political and economic change. A revolution may occur because of changes in the society itself or may be brought about by technological advancements, natural disasters or other influences.
Most revolutions which occur as a result of changes within the society itself are events which seem to happen fairly suddenly. The truth is that these revolutions typically have been brewing at varying levels under the surface for years, possibly generations, just waiting for the final trigger to set large events in motion.
The ruling establishment during a revolution always tries to make the influences and demands of a revolution seem limited, singular in scope, anti-patriotic and trivial or overstated. This is nothing more than an attempt to limit the scope of changes which are genuinely needed within a society but are opposed by the most wealthy and powerful for their own exaggerated and greedy benefit above the rest of society.
Above and beyond all else, for the privileged of society a revolution is a battle of propaganda. Information control and manipulation. Their efforts focus on turning even slightly differing cohorts of the population against one another, whether locally, regionally or globally. Male against female, race against race, religion against religion and on and on. Those efforts are generally successful for the majority of the populace who are easily manipulated and controlled. The purpose is to divert attention from the fact that it is the most privileged within that society who pulls the strings, depriving even the most basic of rights from the population, while profiting from doing so.
However, the success of those efforts become less and less effective as the suffering and disadvantages imposed upon limited segments of the population continue expanding to encompass larger and larger cohorts. The major reversal truly begins when those that once viewed themselves as privileged and immune to being deprived of resources, then find themselves in the same position as those they once looked down upon as inferior.
This is the point where we are at now. It is no longer the minorities suffering, the lines drawn cross all cultural, ethnic, religious and gender boundaries. The only lines existing are between the rich and the poor, with a defined middle class no longer existing. This means more and more sectors of society now identify with those who have historically been oppressed. Greater and greater numbers of people now find themselves below the poverty line, unable to effectively afford basic necessities such as food, shelter and medical care.
Thus we see protests which would once have been small and limited in scope now growing ever larger in scale. The more the authorities attempt to suppress these protests using violent methods, the more the protests become more forceful in nature. Yet at this point the majority of protests have remained peaceful in nature or involved property damage, with most injuries being inflicted by authorities on the protesters. In some instances, pro-establishment counter-protesters infiltrate peaceful protests for the purpose of causing physical harm or killing people involved in the protests. This is an attempt to invalidate the protests and make those engaged in actual protest seem criminal in nature.
The end result of all of the rising violence is highly predictable and unavoidable, seeing that the Establishment has absolutely no intention of offering any form of response besides further oppression. Police and fascistic elements will continue using increasing violence, incarceration, invalidation and sanctions against those who object. Eventually, the previously peaceful protesters who have limited their actions to property damage at most will see no other option but to engage force with force. Once that happens, there will be no going back.
That point was fully illustrated this past week, when both Trump and Biden spoke of “law and order” methods of suppressing protests, with neither suggesting systemic changes which are the entire focus of the protests.
I reference the Greenwald report because his report brought attention to the increasing level of depression among American citizens. This has been a growing problem for over 2 decades, beginning in the late 90’s, illustrated by the rise of antidepressant medication use in the population. It is highly telling that this illustration began during the tail end of the internet boom years. However, in the past 5 years, the problem has escalated at a rapid pace. In the past year alone, as many as 10% of Americans polled said they had considered suicide at some point. Meanwhile, addiction rates have skyrocketed, along with fatal overdose rates. Make no mistake, a large percentage of overdose deaths are intentional, whether stated as such or not.
All of what I have spoken of are indications of a vast number of people in this country that are craving significant changes to our societal and economic system. Yet we have been denied that change, even when or if it has been promised. The changes we have seen have been the exact opposite of what have been promised.
The result is where we are now. Rising numbers and increasing scales of protests with more human on human violence occurring more and more frequently.
While I do not truly endorse the destruction or looting of property, we must recognize that in a capitalist, materialistic society, the destruction and theft of inanimate objects are a valid form of protest against that system. There is no other way by which such a system will change. There is no profit motive in change until protests inflict a cost in maintaining that system, depriving that system of the profit motive.
Many sculptures and symbols have been destroyed by protesters. Those symbols are destroyed for the very reason that they are emblematic of oppression and slavery. While more and more people have realized their own oppression and slavery to a system which increasingly strips them of their freedom, liberties, human rights and even dignity on a societal scale.
The media and general rhetorical narrative have focused on only the racial aspect of these protests. The racial aspect is quite valid but is far from the entirety of the motivation for these protests. This involves far more and over the coming weeks and months that will become more undeniable, even by the propagandist media.
John F Kennedy said, “Those that make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable.” As of now, with both the incumbent president and his major opponent both promising increasing use of force, the hope of peaceful revolution being effective has been completely stripped away.
This leaves an already emotionally exhausted, increasingly desperate population in a position with few choices remaining. The fact of so many already suffering depression and anxiety to the degree that they have been left considering taking their own lives makes them formidable adversaries for the power structure. These are people that have nothing left to lose, so no threats can be effective against them.
Most of the overt use of human on human violence up to this point has been inflicted by right wing and Establishment entities. Yet we must include denial of freedom of speech, shelter, food, safety and medical care as forms of violence in and of themselves. All denials of human rights which are becoming more common and affecting millions in this country, with more people affected on a daily basis.
Estimates range as high as 40 million households may face eviction and up to 50 million Americans may face food insecurity by the end of this year. Meanwhile, firearms sales saw the greatest increase in US history for single months in July and August. Over 30 million people are listed as unemployed and tens of millions more underemployed.
The combination of deprivation of human rights, increasing use of violence and increasing arms sales is a clear shadow of what is to come. The left will begin to respond to violence with violence. The right and Establishment operate under the assumption that the historically peaceful left will remain that way or be less capable or proficient with the use of firearms. Yet there is absolutely no evidence to support that belief, especially considering the left tends to have higher education levels and far greater numbers. Considering then that the highest percentage of those on the right are facing the same conditions as the left, there will be considerable crossover into alliances between left and right against the Establishment.
In simple terms, we are at this moment seeing what future historians will consider the beginning of a new American civil war. Active duty military and National Guard units will be mobilized, though we can expect to see mass numbers of defections and mutinies of personnel, possibly entire units, bringing their weapons with them. These events can no longer be prevented by the forces in power, though it can be easily foreseen. The fact that they unanimously voice stances directly opposing what would prevent that civil war indicates that this is the intentional goal. The only question now is time. What will be the final trigger which detonates these conditions?